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Tuesday Night Ride: Cooked Edition

I have always been resilient to heat. I don’t know why it doesn’t bother me like it does most people and I’ve never bothered to think much about it. I get hot, but am very much comfortable riding in everything up to the mid-90’s (about 115° off the asphalt) I just maintain my grateful attitude about it and watch as others suffer.

Until last night.

A friend and riding buddy of mine has been avoiding riding with friends because he has a sick relative they’ll be visiting soon. It’s one of those “worst case” scenarios so considering the current state of things, his only choice has been to ride solo. I’ve picked up that he’s been bummed about the fact that, as things open up and we’re all finding small groups to ride in, he’s been left out… so I asked if he’d like to ride the Tuesday night route, just the two of us. He cleared that with his wife and we met out at the church. As I pulled into the parking lot, the digital thermometer in my car showed a balmy 91 F (33 C). Now, if you’re keeping track, we went from the mid-40’s to ninety-freaking-one in two weeks. Not exactly any time to acclimatize in there. Still, I had every intention of having a fun, if warm and comfortable, ride.

I pulled my bike from the trunk, got kitted up and went for a four mile warmup. Yeah, warmup, 91°… I know. I felt fantastic and fast, too. Surprisingly so, considering I hadn’t had a day off the bike in more than a week.  I didn’t bother with the full seven mile warmup as that would have been excessive.  Four-and-a-half was good enough.  Jonathan was prepping his bike when I pulled into the parking lot.  There was only one other car besides ours, a E/D Group woman we see regularly under normal circumstances.

Jonathan and I rolled out early as we didn’t want to ride with anyone else.  We started out side by side with tailwind for the first six miles.  We had a 20 average when we hit headwind and I dropped behind Jonathan.  We traded places regularly and were still sitting at a 19-1/2 average when the wheels fell off for me, about 17 miles in.  I was breathing hard from what should have been a fairly small effort.  The heat and 300 miles from the last week caught up to me.  Fortunately, I think Jonathan was struggling in the heat as well.

With just nine miles to go, just maintaining 22-mph with a tailwind was difficult.  I’m having a tough time wrapping my head around how I felt because I’ve never felt that way because of the heat.  My power to the pedals was just ugly.  I got the pedals around but it wasn’t pretty.  With four miles left, I was sitting up, tongue dangling down by the spokes, beat.  I was just happy to pull into the parking lot and climb off my bike.  We’d dropped our average from 20-mph (which should have been easy to maintain), all the way down to 18.8.

I grabbed some dinner at the local Burger King.  Firing that down only helped minimally.  I’d say it was two hours after the ride before I started to feel… less loopy.  I ended up falling asleep on the couch around 9 pm and crawled into bed around 11.

I slept like a baby till it was time to get up.  Tonight it’ll be “no rest for the weary”, though I’m going to aim for an average, on the Trek, closer to 16-mph.  I think it’s time for some active recovery miles because I cooked myself last night.

Oh, $#!+… 2020

Coronavirus, murder hornets…. if you’ve asked, “Good God, what’s next?” for 2020…

That’s from Reign of Fire.

Are you freaking kidding me?! Dragons?!

Five Ways to Stay Active During Your COVIDcation; Fitness is the Key to Winning the Battle Against Future Viruses!

Who has a better chance of survival in the current pandemic climate; a person physically fit person who’s immune system is in the background doing push-ups, or a person who’s gut is taking a lap around the lazy river?

It’s not even a contest.

During the first few weeks of the COVIDcation lock down, I came across more walkers and bicycle riders than I did cars while I was out for my daily ride.  It was the first time that’s ever happened in the 27 years I’ve been into outdoor fitness (of one stripe or another).  It was wonderful to see, though on-foot traffic has slowed considerably of late.

Now is not the time to sit on the couch, though.  It’s time to stay active and I thought I might be able to help.  I’m going to get right into my list of five things you can do to stay active to help insure you’re as able as possible to weather virus storms such as this one.  After all, I’m sure most would prefer to be one of the asymptomatic majority over the alternative!

  1.  Ride a road bike!
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  2. Ride a gravel bike!
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  3. Ride a tandem20170421_173628
  4. Ride a mountain bike!wp-1490221401936.jpg
  5. Or, God forbid, you live in France, Spain or Italy, ride your bike on a trainer!
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This public service announcement has been brought to you by Fit Recovery because life is short and bikes are freaking cool.

ftea-c-19-cycling-team

Celebrating FINALLY Feeling Like Me Again…

I first felt symptoms that matched with reports of what happens with COVID-19 somewhere around March 19th, just shy of a month ago. Those symptoms were surprisingly mild – just enough to make you wonder. Tight lungs and chest, I couldn’t say shortness of breath, it just felt as if someone was squeezing the tops of my lungs so I couldn’t get full use of them. I thought I was just being hyper-sensitive until the annoying dry cough started. My buddy’s son and wife had it, though this was before tests were abundant (due to a bureaucratic SNAFU, thanks to the FDA). She was tested for everything but COVID and all of that was negative. They didn’t send her test in for COVID because she didn’t fit the profile for someone who could become terribly ill. Chuck started experiencing symptoms shortly thereafter. It was the damned fist bumps at the end of a ride (snotty glove to snotty glove, wiped my nose the next day… we stopped with the fist bumping just after the initial panic and his wife became sick). I texted my boss that morning and called him a little later. He paid me to stay work from home for the rest of the week. My symptoms eased over that weekend but according to guidelines I had till Thursday the next week before I could go back to work (72 hours after symptoms and minimum seven days after symptoms first showed up). My wife complained of symptoms that matched mine the day after I started feeling better.

Just before I was supposed to go back to work, our governor shut our industry down. I’ve been home since.

That wasn’t the end, though. I’ve had good days and not as good days, since. I believe continuing with my cycling was vitally important to as well as I’ve done through this. In fact, when this is all done, I wouldn’t be surprised to see that those who locked themselves in suffered worse than those who managed to get as much fresh air as possible fared better… but that’s nothing more than a personal hypothesis.

Long after the dry cough was gone, and long after the tightness in my chest eased considerably, I felt like something had been taken out of me – that I was a little short. Not short of breath, I just wasn’t all the way back. Some days, not all, it still felt like the top quarter of my lungs were useless. In terms of cycling, I stopped sprinting and I was usually okay with puttering along with my wife (for the most part). While I wanted to shake the funk, I didn’t want to overdo it and land myself in dire straights. Still, I wanted me back again, at the same time. It was frustrating, and I internalized the whole struggle.

I always had the thought in the back of my head, “what if it gets worse… a lot worse“.

I finally shook that yesterday. I don’t know how or why the switch flipped, but it did. I gained a lot of me back. Going by percentages, during symptoms I was 67%. After, I was 80-85%. Yesterday I hit 90-95%. I can still feel something, but my breathing is loose and free again.

And just in time, too. We went through a cold snap for the last four days – it snowed three of them even if it didn’t stick. Today, while it’s going to be windy later, we’ll have a decent temperatures along with a steady breeze and sunshine to start the day. I’ve got big miles planned, too. 10-11-mph winds heading into the wind, and it should pick up to 18-mph to push me home. If I time it right. We shall see.

Anyway, Mrs. Bgddy is still where I was – not quite right, but she’s getting back to normal. Unlike me, she had the intense headache a few days ago. If she follows my pattern, it’ll be another four or five days before she feels like herself again.

As for my daughters, they experienced nothing. Completely asymptomatic.

So, you may wonder why we never got tested… Well, when I started with my symptoms, we were still in the “you’re not old enough or sick enough for us to send this test in” phase of testing. Getting tested would have been useless. I will be getting tested for antibodies when that test comes out – a doctor friend of mine has my back on that… this way, at least I can give blood to help others who aren’t as fortunate as I am.

More on that another day.

COVIDcation is the Best Thing To Happen To My Diet Plan Since I Bought A Bike!

You almost can’t miss the weight gain memes associated with COVIDcation.  Funny pics showing one more reason people will come out of their socially distanced time out of work a much rounder version of their former self.

I, however, own a bicycle.  Rather than explain how my mileage has jumped, a graph is worth… I don’t know, at least 75 words:

LockDownMileage.JPG

Since, I’ve spoken to several people (eight or ten – all non-related) who had almost exactly the same symptoms I did.  Two had headaches – I didn’t, three had fevers – I didn’t.  My wife had the exact same symptoms I did but took a lot longer to shed them.  My kids, no symptoms whatsoever.  None have been tested.  I should also add, everyone I know experienced this long before pollen season began.  We do live in Michigan.

Anyway, the lock down hit just as I was set to go back to work.  My symptoms cleared up, for the most part, in about three days, maybe four if I’m persnickety about it.  My last paid day at work was the 27th, so I’ve ridden as I pleased since and the only thing that’s held me back, humorously, is my legs – call it winter fitness, and I did spend two days riding indoors on the trainer while I had symptoms, just to be safe(ish).

That out of the way, in three weeks I’ve dropped ten pounds and if I have my way, I’ll lose another ten before we end up going back to work some time in May (fingers crossed emoji).

However this works out, I’m very much enjoying my time off work.  I did as I was supposed to while I was symptomatic, but now it’s a party.  I’m living a day at a time, doing as I should be doing to weather this storm, mentally and physically, but I’m planning on doing it with a smile on my face and a spring in my step.

One thing is for certain, any mileage shortages I had year-over-year are gone.  I’m at a surplus and it looks like this is going to go on for at least another two more weeks.  This week will be sketchy for miles.  It’ll be a day off today due to high winds and the rest of the week will be incredibly cold.  Next week, though, we’ve got some very nice temperatures headed our way and unless our governor wakes up and gets construction going like the rest of the surrounding states, I’ll be outside, earning my dinner.

As it should be.

For Active People, How Much Exercise is Too Much in Terms of Fighting Disease; Virtually Everything I Hoped Is Right… Or Not Exactly Wrong.

I am your typical active lifestyle person.  My idea of exercise is not a five mile, 30-minute bike ride around a (very) long block.  Six minutes per mile, that’d be about ten miles in an hour.  I start having fun when the range is extended six-fold, and almost double the pace.  Doing the math, 30 miles, about an hour and a half, maybe a little more.

Now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve moderated my exercise because I know, only from what I’ve heard in the past, that intense exercise is bad – that the body suffers decreased resistance to illness after an intense workout.  My normal average, on an intense day of cycling, is north of 20-mph.  For me, an easy day on the bike is between 16 & 17-mph.  Therefore, during the pandemic, I’ve kept my pace between 16 and 18, with a moderately robust one or two days a week north of 19-mph for the average.

I think the problem we (and especially the medical and political class) run into is defining “how much” and “how fast” for our exercise.  My 16-mph average on a road bike feels like I’m crawling.  I have no trouble holding a full conversation at that pace unless we’re pushing into a 20-mph headwind.  Other cyclists, that’s their max pace.  You put an overweight rookie bike rider on a beach cruiser and tell them to maintain a 16-mph average and you’ll likely send them to their grave.  And therein lies the rub because most doctors have a tough time distinguishing between “rigorous” and vigorous exercise.  We know doctors and politicians have to include everyone in their guidance so we rightly assume they’re vastly more cautious than needed.  Well, it appears the evidence backs that assumption up, but the news is even better than expected for we active people.

What I’m seeking to do here is present real data so we, the exceptionally fit, can make our own determination of what is within intelligent, safe fitness and what is outside and “too much of a good thing”, for if we allow a politician to quantify this, you can bet your grandmother will be able to keep up with you using her walker because granny is more likely to vote.   And watch how this goes – I had to completely change the direction of this post when I followed the new, corrected science over popular incorrectly assumed science.

Fortunately, there exists plenty of data out there from reputable sources to work with – and most of it says the same thing – that too much of a good thing is bad.

Let’s look at a problem first.  What seems like a well written article will say something like this:

Additionally, studies performed on mice demonstrated that regular exercise performed two to three months prior to an infection reduced illness severity and viral load in obese and non-obese mice.

Thus, limited animal and human data cautiously suggest that exercise up to three days per week, two to three months prior, better prepares the immune system to fight a viral infection.

(Links removed, emphasis added)

It will then link to this study which says nothing of the sort (because trying to time when to exercise three days per week, two to three months prior to a flu outbreak makes no sense whatsoever).  The study they linked does say this, however, in the conclusion:

Chronic exercise resulted in reduced symptoms, virus load, and levels of inflammatory cytokine and chemokines. Acute exercise also showed some benefit, which was limited to the early phase of infection

Chronic is defined as regular exercise.  Acute as a one time event, shortly before viral infection.  In other words, the science says exactly opposite what the article that quoted it did.  This appears to happen a lot in the reporting of science. And then this:

Epidemiological evidence suggests that moderate exercise may reduce the risk or severity of infection, whereas exhaustive exercise may increase that risk or severity [1–4]. With respect to animal models of respiratory viral infection, moderate exercise tends to decrease morbidity and mortality, whereas prolonged, strenuous exercise increases mortality [5–8].

The point is, we all know moderate exercise is good – we who lead active lifestyles experience the benefits when the latest flu or bug seems to skip right over us.  I am the intensely moderate exerciser in my family and there have been years where my wife and two daughters were sick with something and it completely passed my by (or I actually had it and was asymptomatic because it’s a rare day I stop kissing my wife).  We start to understand a definition of moderate exercise, though – non-exhaustive.  Let’s continue.  The point then becomes, “what is exhaustive to you may not be exhaustive to me”.

We can go here for the money quote:

I believe that even a single exercise bout can be beneficial, but regular exercise provides a much bigger benefit.

This is what we regular exercisers know, regular exercise provides a huge health benefit.  It’s unquestionable, and certainly not limited to “three days per week, two to three months before infection”.  Regular exercise provides a much bigger benefit.  And add that to the previous quote that moderate exercise helps reduce the severity of an illness…

Also, in that same interview, a little further up, we get the gravy atop the roast beef and mashed potatoes:

It is safe to exercise during the coronavirus outbreak. One should not limit the multitude of health benefits that exercise provides us on a daily basis just because there is a new virus in our environment. However, there may be some additional precautions to reduce your risk of infection.

Interestingly, after reading that interview, I’m quite certain I had COVID and cleared it… and I exercised right through it, though I decreased intensity drastically while I had my mild symptoms.  Folks, I took it very easy because I thought that was the wise thing to do:

Typically, one can exercise moderately with mild upper respiratory tract symptoms (e.g., runny nose, sinus congestion, mild sore throat). However, I would recommend against exercising if you are experiencing any of these symptoms: severe sore throat, body aches, shortness of breath, general fatigue, chest cough, or fever. You should also seek medical care if you are experiencing those symptoms. Typically, recovery from respiratory viral infections takes 2–3 weeks, which corresponds with the time it takes your immune system to generate cytotoxic T cells necessary to clear the virus from infected cells. After this period, when symptoms are gone, it is safe to begin exercising regularly, but you may want to take it slow at first.

I experienced an unmistakable tightness in my upper lungs (COVID 19 typically presents in either upper or lower according to what I’ve read), a mild, dry chest cough (nothing uncontrollable).  I had no fever, no body aches, no shortness of breath and no sore throat.  I did nap considerably for the first two days but I think that was mostly due to the fact I could (I stayed home from the office after symptoms presented – not because I was too sick to work, but because it was the right thing to do for the others in the office).

This gets interesting, though, and this goes to the intensity and duration with which we exercise.  And this is why I had to rewrite this whole post; I know for a fact I am what would be classified as leading a “physically active lifestyle”.  What about the person who loves nothing more than to take their bike out for an aggressively fun 60-mile bike ride over three hours?  It turns out, there’s good news for us – and most politicians (and even doctors) who claim themselves “knowledgeable” based that knowledge on bad information.

In the first article I linked to, it talked about a “J-shaped curve” of fitness benefits.  The article goes on to suggest:

Both too much and too little are bad while somewhere in the middle is just right. Scientists commonly refer to this statistical phenomenon as a “J-shaped” curve.

That conclusion is likely wrong based on this study (do read the whole thing – I just provided the appropriate quote, the linked article goes into why previous assumptions were made on studies that were flawed – your jaw should drop an appropriate distance) :

Finally, studies of ultramarathon runners, who undertake the largest volume of exercise among athletes, have shown that these individuals report fewer days missed from school or work due to illness compared to the general population. For example, the mean number of sickness days reported over 12 months was 1.5 days in a study of 1,212 ultramarathon runners and 2.8 days in a study of 489 ultramarathon runners (). These studies compared their findings to data from the United States Department of Health and Human Services report in 2009, showing that the general population report on average 4.4 illness days each year. Thus, a number of studies challenge the “J-shaped curve,” indicating that athletes undertaking the largest training loads, become ill less frequently than athletes competing at, and training at, a lower level. These findings have previously been conceptualized by extending the “J-shaped curve” into an “S-shaped curve,” thereby suggesting that very elite athletes are better adapted to the demands of their training (). Given the nature of their design, very few of these reports—akin to many of the aforementioned studies showing increased infection risk among athletes following mass participation endurance events—used appropriate laboratory diagnostics to confirm an infection. However, despite their limitations, it is important to highlight that there are as many epidemiological studies showing that regular exercise reduces infections as there are studies showing exercise increases infections, and that these studies are often overlooked in the exercise immunology literature.

Emphasis added by me…

From my own personal experience, I’m well below the average of 4.4 illness days a year.  I’m typically between 0 and 2 for any given year.  That I can remember, I have never missed four days in a year for illness – in fact, if it weren’t for COVID-19 being a pandemic of outrageous proportions, I never would have taken a day off with the mild symptoms I had.  I’d have kept to myself and gone to work.  Where this gets tricky is where we fall on that “s-shaped curve”.  There’s a possibility that too much of a good thing can be bad, but not in the way that is popularly represented.

The point is, friends, there’s a lot of bad information out there.  The good information, the “evidence based” information says exercise regularly.  Moderate your exercise during times of illness to match symptoms and discontinue exercise in the presence of acute symptoms until they dissipate, then start back slow.  In other words, common sense prevails – and there are a lot of people out there who make restrictions and don’t use it.

For those who have politicians limiting outdoor activity during the pandemic, the evidence is clear – even during COVIDcation 2020 – we should be outdoors getting our daily dose provided we take precautions to avoid further contamination of others.  Regular exercise lessens the chance of being infected and then lessens the severity if one is.  Lives are in the balance and can possibly be saved by a bike ride or run.  Especially a long one for those of us who are fit enough for it.

COVIDcation 2020 isn’t a Vacation? The Hell You Say…

The new narrative out there is that the rich aren’t being fair.  I know, stop the presses, right?  They’re trying to flee their city of origin for quieter towns where social distancing is easier. Supposedly worse, they’re heading to their second homes… you know, the second home they own. Good God, not that. I almost fell over from shock after reading it was happening!  I properly and promptly filed the information in the circular file marked No Shit, Sherlock.  I did, however, want to take a minute to play.

Now, I’m not pompous, indignant or ignorant enough to pull off the proper disdain, so I’ll quote the linked steaming pile of shit article:

“The worst part is that these second-home owners are coming up and acting like isolation is a vacation,” said Jen, 39, who lives in the northwest Colorado Rockies.

Get that? The worst part.  Of the COVID-19 pandemic and people escaping festering cities where the virus is thriving because people are having a tough time distancing… is that they’re treating their retreat as a vacation.  I disagree with Jen wholeheartedly. In fact, treating COVIDcation-2020 as a vacation is not even in the top 50 of bad parts. There exists a vast number of worse parts than that. Vast.

I didn’t even bother with the low hanging fruit in the article and there are a number of reasons to hate an article like that; from its pompous nature, to its white privilege negativity and racism (assuming a whole race of people are incapable of caring for themselves without help from another race is quite racist, dear snowflakes – I think that’s actually in the definition of the word), to its virtue signaling faux guilt and pitting one race against another for the sake of writing about something. Anything that will put a divide between people.

Beyond that, my point is, if you can treat this like a vacation, and I certainly hope you can, do it. If you can take your money somewhere to ride this thing out, do it. If you can weather this thing with a smile on your face, do it. If you’re struggling, my prayers are with you that you get what you need to make it and get to a place you can make the best of it.  Most of all, if you’re one of these people who think we should all be sulking around, miserable, you are wrong.  Sure, we need to do our social distancing best, so that means putting some social distance in where you can – and if that means rich folks depopulate cities and hunker down in a smaller town, that’s a good thing.

Me? This is, without question, a f***ed up vacation, but a vacation nonetheless. And nobody will drag me into the guilt-gutter in order to convince me I shouldn’t look at this as an opportunity to enjoy life on life’s terms.  I’ve worked my entire adult life without missing a week of work unless it was a vacation – into my third decade.  If the experts tell me I have to take some time away, to “socially distance” myself, you can bet your ass I’ll figure out how to make the best of it.  That’s what I do.  That’s what we are supposed to do.

We are all in this mess together. We need to each do our own part to act like it… even if we have a deadline for an article with a predisposed, bullshit narrative.

On the plus-side of all of this, I won’t start worrying until they drop articles like that for articles shouting, “All is well” from the rooftops. If that happens, that’s when shit just went sideways.

Till then? CoVengeCation, baby.  Have bike, will ride it.  Excessively.  If you think I’m wrong, do me a favor and go sulk in a corner for me.  I’ve got some fun to have.  Socially distanced fun, of course.

We’re dealing with COVID-19, but what’s a virus in the first place? — One Regular Guy Writing about Food, Exercise and Living Past 100

Tony, over at One Regular Guy Writing About Food, Exercise and Living Past 100, added this incredibly interesting post… I can’t recommend it highly enough.  It’s a good read.

Everybody knows by now that the United States and the world are in the grip of one of the dangerous coronaviruses called COVID-19, but what’s a virus and how can it make us feel ill? Why do our bodies react the way they do? Are viruses alive? “Viruses aren’t considered alive – in class I […]

via We’re dealing with COVID-19, but what’s a virus in the first place? — One Regular Guy Writing about Food, Exercise and Living Past 100

Cycling Therapy for COVID-19? You Might Be Surprised…

The first tightening in my chest, where I could tell something wasn’t quite right, scared the hell out of me.  I texted my boss that I shouldn’t come to work and he agreed, offering that I could work from home.  My cycling buddy’s son, then wife had been sick and we’d been fist-bumping after rides like it was going out of style.  That was supposed to be acceptable…  The dry cough started Thursday morning, though it never approached “uncontrollable”.  Mildly annoying is a better description.  I went out for a bike ride with Chuck that afternoon anyway.  No way I was going to let this get in the way – it wasn’t all that bad and I was going to will myself into being asymptomatic.  It was a slow ride as chuck was starting to feel a bit under the weather himself.  Chuck and I tooled around our normal loop at just under 16-mph… about 3-mph slower than normal (Tuesday had been 18.85-mph on the same route).

Friday had me pretty nervous.  One can will oneself not to be sick, and sometimes it works, but I wasn’t kidding myself either.  I was waiting for the hammer to fall.  The weather wasn’t all that great, either.  A cold front had blown in so I chose to ride my trainer indoors around lunchtime.  The hammer never dropped.  The cough subsided Friday afternoon and the tightness in my chest was entirely gone by Saturday morning.  For Saturday, it was really cold, so another ride on the trainer.  Again, easy so as not to flare anything up, but not too easy.

Sunday, the weather improved and Chuck and I were back outside.  I was feeling fine, he was still battling his mild fever.  On that ride, Chuck said he’d spoken with his sister, a nurse, who recommended “deep breathing exercises”.  Well what better deep breathing exercise is there than riding a bike?  We were out for 2 hours, covering a little more than 35 miles.  Over the next five days I covered 184 slow(ish) miles and I’m feeling fantastic.

Then this:

Recommendations

Aerobic exercise. Before infection aerobic exercise is recommended to strengthen cardiovascular health. Once infected, during the period of mild symptoms, moderate daily aerobic exercise can improve lung ventilation. Such exercise may benefit immune function as well [10]. Ideally, do this exercise outdoors or with open windows or otherwise well ventilated areas. In sufficiently warm climates, longer walks or even running may improve lung capacity. Jumping jacks, jogging in place, or dancing can be done even in small spaces.

Is the advice legit?  I don’t know, but I’ve heard it from enough people I trust that I trust it.  And it definitely helped me.  Who knew?

On another note, and purely turning the frown upside down, it’s unmistakable what this virus has done for getting people outside in my neck of the USA.  Folks, I see more walkers than I do cars while I’m out on those bike rides nowadays… and the number of those who are smiling while we wave as I go by is simply fantastic.

What to Do About Recovery Amidst the Covid-19 Scare; It’s Time to Get Creative

Meetings are being canceled left and right. Churches and schools alike are closing their doors with the hope of staving off the inevitable.  Originally, I thought this was political (God knows the depths to which politicians will sink to unjustly make hay of a crisis – they’ve certainly shown their stripes with this one) but that argument just doesn’t work because the whole entire world is losing it all at the same time… it’s more than mere politics with this, and I’m beginning to understand, watching Italy tell those over 80 they can’t be cared for, the why of it.  We need to get behind this to mitigate the damage.

This won’t be a commentary on the panic, as much as it will be a few suggestions on how to cope with the lack of the one thing active recovery requires; human fellowship.

Folks, my normal meetings were canceled this week. I’ve got about a week of sanity before shit starts going sideways so I’m going to have to get a little creative with how I work my program.  As I like to say, my disease is sitting in a cage doing push-ups, waiting for a time like this… I have to be ready.

  • Pick up the phone.  Remember back to the days when you struggled to pick up that thousand pound phone?  Well, if you’re not a natural at automatically reaching for it if you have an issue to talk through, now is the time to broaden your horizons.  Pick it up.  Call a friend.  The person on the other end of the line, in all likelihood, needs the conversation just as much as you do.
  • Home meetings with a handful of friends.  Obviously, we have to be careful with this one.  You know the drill, if someone’s sick they don’t come (though this might be a little outdated, they’re now saying everyone should act as if they have it).
  • Read, read, read.  Read your Big Book.  Read your Daily Reflections.  Read a Grapevine.
  • Visit your sponsor – assuming your sponsor isn’t over 60, of course.  We have to think of others first here.
  • This is likely the most important:  Write or do something constructive for your recovery.  This could be a time that brings you down and makes you struggle, edging closer to misery, but why?  Make this a time to really dig deep and grow yourself in your recovery.  Deepen your faith, reach out and help others in recovery, grow in your program.

I heard something interesting on the radio this morning that really struck a chord.  The last few generations were called to war.  You’re being called so sit on your couch.

Sure, this will be tough but your recovery is stronger than this.  Make it work.